School holiday shoppers were treated to a pop up performance on Thursday as a taster for the upcoming Big Band Blast free festival on the last weekend of May, featuring headline act Lionel Cole.

More than 600 musicians and 30 bands from all over Australia will play across 4 stages when the Big Band Blast brings ‘Motown Funk’ to Port Macquarie for three days of free live music on 27 to 29 May.

Headline act Lionel Cole, nephew of the late great Nat King Cole, son of Freddy Cole and cousin of Natalie Cole, made his own mark on The Voice 2014 working with Ricky Martin and Kylie Minogue.

Lionel will team up with John Morrison and the 30-piece 3B Horns for the main Saturday night concert, which is being opened up as a free community event for the first time this year.

Big Band Blast Artistic Director, John Morrison, said the Motown Funk theme would appeal to young and old, with its dynamic rhythms, deep bass, blaring horns and modern edge.

“Think James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Hot Chocolate, Diana Ross and the Supremes. The Saturday night concert will be a huge event that’s sure to get everyone up and dancing,” Mr Morrison said.

“If you’re into jazz, funk, soul, R&B or free live music of any kind, mark this in your diary because you’ll definitely find something to tap your toes to over the three days.”

Event Organiser Jock Garven said the Big Band Blast was the country’s largest big band festival, with musicians coming from as far as Western Australia, Queensland and South Australia.

“Now in its fourth year, the Big Band Blast has been a highlight on the musos calendar, and it’s really grown into a fantastic free community event for Hastings residents and visitors to the region,” Mr Garven said.

“Everyone is invited to come down and make a weekend of it. Get your dancing shoes ready for a groove or bring a picnic rug and settle in for a few days of easy listening tunes.

“The Big Band Blast is a celebration, rather than a competition, and the performers are all passionate about sharing their love of music with the community.”

The three-day program features three main concerts, non-stop performances, jam sessions, a riverside music parade and workshops for registered participants.

Program details and a venue map are available at www.bigbandblast.com.au